Eko-Ozra is an association consisting of 26 companies within the beverage industry and consumer goods selling around 70% of packaging on the Croatian market. The company, whose Director is Dragica Bagarić, was founded in 2005 as an intermediary between producers, who are obliged to manage packaging waste, and companies handling packaging collection and processing.
What are the fundamental weaknesses in the current waste management system?
The current Packaging and Packaging Waste Ordinance has not solved the problem of comprehensive packaging waste management, having tackled the issue of merely 25%-30% of drink and beverage waste. €32.5 million is spent on this aspect, which is over 6 times more than the amount spent on other packaging aste management. Packaging waste is not treated in accordance with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, but there are differences regarding packaging content.
The Ordinance has introduced three fee levels regarding disposable packaging, consequently creating differences amongst varying types of packaging. If washing powder packaging is multilayered cardboard, the tipping fee is €100 per tonne. On the other hand, if it is milk packaging, the tipping fee is €150 per tonne; for juice packaging the tipping fee is €550 for companies in compliance with national annual standards on reusable packaging, whilst the fee for those who do not comply is €1,475 and the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund incurs costs of €54 per collected tonne of such packaging.
Do you believe incentive compensation is unnecessary?
Incentive compensation for drink and beverage producers currently stands at between €0.01 and €1.2, depending on volume and the packaging material. This compensation is unnecessary, since the return of disposable packaging in Croatia is nearly 100% and all collected packaging is delivered to manufacturers. According to the Ordinance, producers of juice, bottled water, wine and other alcoholic beverages must provide 25% of products in reclaimable packaging, unless they wish to pay the fee. The standards are high, yet the issue of reclaimable packaging as more environmentally friendly should be discussed.
Should businessmen be in charge of waste management?
How would a system operate? What are your expectations from government? We expect an equal and fair business relationship and the state to understand that businessmen should be in charge of waste management in a simple and transparent manner. The current waste management model needs to be amended and producers and exporters should be able to manage their packaging waste through a third party, the so called ‘recovery organisations’.
The system, which would be advantageous for industry, is based on the principle of the return of sold packaging, which companies transfer to the third party. This organisation is accountable to the Ministry of Environmental Protection which issues a work permit in accordance with achieved results and its business plan. This system is transparent, since circulation of material and services is in accordance with market principles and is in everyone’s interest, including eligible companies, to achieve national objectives in order
to avoid paying further fees.
In your opinion, what amendments to the current system are urgent prior to Ordinance alterations?
Mirela Holy, Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection, could currently introduce a single fee for multilayered cardboard packaging, irrespective of the recession. In addition, incentive compensation for drink and beverage producers whose product range does not include reusable packaging should be abolished; this would contribute significantly to creating fair competition on the market. Thirdly, dairy products should be excluded from a deposit system.
Izvor: PVI International